The Week In Review: Total Solar Eclipse Enthralls the U.S.
Sonali Kamboj / August 25, 2017
From Oregon to South Carolina, 14 states across the U.S fell in the 70-mile-wide “path of totality,” experiencing complete darkness in the middle of the day for about two minutes on August 21st. The grand show took place in the span of two hours, traveling from the west to the east coast. A partial eclipse was visible all across North America.
The sheer fact that that the moon, which is much smaller in size than the sun, is even able to conceal the massive ball of light, is simply remarkable.
What makes this cosmic event so spectacular despite the fleeting nature of the phenomenon is that the sun’s invisible outer atmosphere, also known as the sun’s corona, surfaces when the moon blocks the giant star, albeit momentarily.
The eclipse also provided an opportunity to space scientists and heliophysicists to study the sun and conduct experiments. Since it’s nearly impossible to observe the sun at such close proximity with the help of space telescopes, the solar eclipse provided a great prospect for scientists to research the corona and space weather in different wavelengths.
“Instead of being able to collect data from one spot or for just a few minutes, this eclipse is providing that window of opportunity to observe the corona over a long period of time,” said Madhulika Guhathakurta, NASA’s lead scientist for the eclipse. “This is also an opportunity to test out novel instruments and our models also to see how well are they working. And it’s scientifically important because of this sun, moon and Earth connection,” Guhathakurta added.
“Eclipse 2017 provides an incredible opportunity to engage the entire nation and the world, inspiring learners of all ages who have looked to the sky with curiosity and wonder,” said Steven Clarke, director of NASA’s Heliophysics Division in Washington.
While Americans traversed long distances to get a glimpse of the rare celestial event, six extremely fortunate individuals watched the umbra or the moon’s shadow aboard the International Space Station, from a “vantage point 250 miles above the Earth.”
During the eclipse, President Trump stared briefly at the sun sans any protective glasses/lenses as one of the aides shouted “don’t look.” Joined by first lady Melania Trump and their son Barron on the Truman Balcony at the White House, Trump later wore protective eyewear.
Scientists, eclipse chasers and other enthusiasts will be able to experience the next solar eclipse in 7 years, as it is scheduled to take place on April 8th, 2024.
While you wait for the next celestial event to happen, follow these magazines and topics via Flipboard.
Solar Eclipse: Look back at/relive all that happened during the Great American Solar Eclipse 2017 via this magazine.
Space: Discover the wonders of the cosmos right here.
NASA: Be on top of every story coming out of the The National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Science: Keep abreast of the latest studies, experiments and advancements in the field of science.
Astronomy: Whether you are a budding astronomer or just curious about matters of the universe, track the latest via this topic.
~SonaliK is browsing through the City Guides.